Disability Discrimination in the Workplace in New Jersey

Discrimination by an employer or a potential employer because of a disability is prevalent across the country, even though it is illegal.

When dealing with matters of employer discrimination, it is important to take on the issue at the state level, because federal protections for employees’ rights in the workplace are not as strong as state protections in New Jersey. In other states, such as New York, where state protections are not as strong, plaintiffs look to federal regulations to fight their employment discrimination claims in court.

What are state laws applying to discrimination policy?

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination states that it is against state law to discriminate or otherwise harass someone in the workplace on the basis of race, nationality, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, disability, marital or domestic partner status, family status, genetic information, age, or liability for military service. While this applies to employment – it is illegal to limit hiring practices based on any of the above or discriminate once a person is already a company employee – it also applies to New Jersey housing, places of public accommodation, credit, and business contracts.

What are federal laws regarding discrimination?

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) federally prohibits discrimination based on disability for companies with 15 or more employees. If a company is charged with discrimination based on disability, according to the ADAAA, the employee can seek damages equal to those available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, its 1977 Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1981), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which provide for compensatory damages in the case of intentional violations of Title VII. Such compensatory damages could include back pay, front pay, and other compensatory and punitive damages. However, while there are a broad range of protections for employees under federal law, a precedent has been set that federal court judges often side with businesses and corporations as it regards employee discrimination, and an individual charge brought to the federal court for such an offense may be dropped.

What is legally considered a disability?

According to the original Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is defined as

  • a physical or mental impairment greatly limiting capacities or major life activities
  • having the record of such an impairment, or
  • being regarded as having such an impairment.

Over the decades, the legal jargon regarding what constitutes a disability has not changed much, though its interpretation in court has greatly shifted. Due to this shift, the courts see disability under a much broader spectrum, as well as its interpretations of the major life activities and bodily functions that are limited by disability, as noted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC reiterates that ‘major life activities’ include, but are not limited to, the capacities to

  • Care for oneself
  • See
  • What is legally considered a disability?Hear
  • Eat without the support of tubes
  • Sleep a reasonable amount
  • Perform manual tasks
  • Stand up
  • Walk with or without support
  • Lift light objects
  • Bend the joints of the body
  • Speak clearly
  • Breathe without the support of a device

Bodily functions whose absence of function would be considered disability include

  • How to file a complaint with the New Jersey CourtsImmune system function
  • Digestive function, including the bowels and urinary function
  • Brain function
  • Nervous system function, which could include post-traumatic stress that affects the proper functioning of the nervous system
  • Circulatory system function, as well as all heart-related issue
  • Endocrine system function, including the balanced operation of the hormones
  • Reproductive function

How to file a complaint with the New Jersey Courts

A complaint of disability discrimination in the workplace will need to be filed with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR). Upon filing a complaint, the DCR will investigate the complaint and determine whether there is or is not probable cause to support your allegations. If the Director of the DCR finds that the investigative process affirms probable cause for a claim, your case will proceed to the Office of Administrative Law, whose judge will issue a finding. The Director of the DCR will review the Administrative Law Office’s review and either adopt its ruling or overturn it. During this process, it is imperative that you have the legal support of an experienced attorney.

Disability Discrimination Attorneys Serving Clients in Mercer, Middlesex, Bucks and Philadelphia Counties

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our team is experienced in ensuring the rights of our clients in Trenton office, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick, and across Mercer County in all matters of disability discrimination in the workplace.

To schedule a consultation with an experienced member of our firm today regarding your case, please call us at (609) 528-2596 or go online to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with a personal injury lawyer.

What if my employer wants me to sign an agreement after an accident?

Experienced Attorneys Advising Clients on work-related agreements in Hamilton, Trenton, Levittown, Ewing, and across Mercer County Area

What if my employer wants me to sign an agreement after an accident?If you have been injured at work, your employer may want you to sign an agreement.  Never sign an agreement without speaking with an attorney, no matter how favorable the agreement sounds or how much pressure you are facing from an employer.  

Every day, people wake up and head to work to earn a living for their families and themselves.  Most people work because they have no choice and need income to survive. If you cannot work, it is almost impossible to financially survive and the impact upon your personal life can be devastating. An accident at work can destroy your financial and personal life. 

Accidents/Injuries at Work

Unfortunately, work-related injuries and accidents happen all the time. Whether you work in an office or work on a construction site, you are susceptible to accidents and corresponding injuries.  For example, if you work in an office, you can slip and fall and break a bone and thus need time off of work for recovery and medical treatment. Similarly, if you work in a factory, it is possible for a machine to malfunction and cause you to lose a finger or limb.  In some cases, you can be injured while driving in a work vehicle or become involved in a car accident on company time. After the accident occurs you may be approached by your employer to settle the claim.

Pressure by Employers to Settle a Claim

The accident and injuries are devastating, not only because you have pain, but also because you may not be able to work and are facing increasing pressure to settle a claim with your employer.  Your employer may approach you and offer to pay you a settlement if you sign an agreement. Unfortunately, you and others may feel compelled to sign the agreement out of fear of losing your job or because you need the money.  Do not sign the agreement without speaking to an attorney

Why would my employer ask me to sign an agreement?

Why would my employer ask me to sign an agreement?Your employer is without a doubt in the business of making money, not giving out money.  He wants to protect his own interest in the company and limit his exposure to paying out large sums for injuries.  Keeping this in mind when offered an agreement to settle for injuries sustained on the job will help you understand that he does not have your best interests in mind. Only you have your best interests at heart in the situation.

Even if your employer has insurance, the insurance company, like your employer, is in the business of making money, not spending it.  Therefore, insurance companies and employers alike want to limit their exposure to claims. To do so, they often offer up small sums to cap their ultimate financial exposure related to a work-place accident.  Similarly, while your employer may have insurance, he knows that the higher the payout on a claim or being involved in litigation will expose him to higher premiums and litigation costs against him and his business.  

The Agreement seems favorable to me – Why shouldn’t I sign it?

Simply put, you have no way of knowing whether an agreement is favorable unless you take it to an attorney.  Attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to carefully evaluate your injuries and the proposed agreement.  

Consult our Trenton Work Injury Injury Attorneys for answers todayAdditionally, you do not know what medical treatment may be necessary or how you will be impacted by your injuries in the future.  What seems like a simple injury can turn out to be more serious over time. Say for example that you cut your finger at the joint while at work.  You go to the hospital and the doctor says that it is a simple fix and that only stitches are needed. Your employer offers you a thousand dollars to cover the bill and to forego any future claims.  Unfortunately, after several months, you notice that you have no feeling in your finger and that it locks into place causing a lack of mobility and severe pain. You can no longer do your job because absolute precision utilizing your hand is necessary. After seeing another doctor, you find out that you severed a tendon and that there is permanent nerve damage and surgery is needed.  You would not be able to recover anything from your employer because you signed that agreement. 

Consult our Trenton Work Injury Attorneys for answers today

Our attorneys at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson will review your claim and correspond with your employer and insurance company.  We will take the burden from you and get the compensation needed. To learn more about the potential for financial compensation through a personal injury claim, please contact us online or call our Mercer County NJ offices today at (215) 337-4915 for a free and confidential consultation.

Women’s Mental Health and Work-Related Injuries

Workers Compensation Attorneys Helping Women Affected by Gender-Related Work Issues in Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington and across Mercer County, NJ

Women’s mental health and its effect on Women’s Work-Related InjuriesThough there have been many studies that have addressed work-related injuries, the role that gender plays in work injuries was the subject of a study conducted by the Colorado School of Health’s Center for Health, Work, and Environment on the Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The study found that women who suffer from depression, psychological distress, anxiety, and fatigue are much more likely to suffer work-related injuries. Moreover, the study found that these health factors significantly affected women’s risk of injury but that men’s risk was not significantly affected. This means that employers and employees must take special care when addressing women’s psychological issues and their connection to workplace safety.

Depression, Anxiety, and Fatigue in the Workplace

Though depression, anxiety, and fatigue were contributing factors to a heightened risk of injury for women, once again, the same could not be said of men who participated in the study. Based on this research one can conclude that ensuring the safety of workers calls for an approach that involves health, well-being, and safety. Programs instituted by employers that are aimed at preventing injury should take into account workplace conditions along with worker psychological health.

Men vs. Women Mental and Behavioral Health at Work

Furthermore, the researchers at the Colorado School of Health also found that women were more likely to report issues concerning mental and behavioral health. According to the study, these conditions are a sign of the increased risk of suffering a work injury. Approximately 60 percent of women who have suffered a work injury also reported that they had a behavioral health problem prior to their injury. Though men suffered more work-related injuries overall, these injuries were usually not connected to behavioral health problems. Only 33 percent of men reported having a behavioral health condition, such as poor sleep or anxiety, prior to their work injury.

More research is clearly necessary in order to fully understand the reasons for the differences in women’s and men’s risk of work-related injuries. However, a consideration that all employers should take into account is that irrespective of gender, workers who have previously suffered an injury are more likely to be injured again.

Common causes of Woman’s Work-related Injuries

Common causes of Woman’s Work-related InjuriesDepartment of Labor Statistics data shows that of the approximately 128 million working-age women (16 years of age and older) in the US, 57.2% have full- or part-time jobs, compared to 34% in the 1950s. In fact, female employees represent approximately 45% of all work hours. This increase in participation has translated into more work-related injuries.

Although women are injured at work less often than men, some safety incident types are disproportionately more frequent for women. In addition, women face some unique workplace health and safety issues that must be addressed by organizations.

The most common causes of workplace injuries for women include:

  • Roadway accidents: Though not much can be done about risks such as weather conditions and other drivers on the road, it is critical that all transportation workers, particularly commercial drivers, receive regular roadway safety training to improve their skills and be prepared for any situation they may encounter. However, the psychological and emotional health of all drivers should be taken into account by employers.
  • Falls, slips, and trips: These types of incidents often occur in indoor settings where women are more likely to work. The training employees to be more aware of their surroundings and exhibit greater caution on the job can reduce the frequency of these avoidable injuries by improving their safety behaviors.
  • Being struck by an object or equipment: Women who work in industries with greater natural hazards such as construction and manufacturing must be provided with adequate training to operate and work around heavy machinery/equipment, including following all safety rules and guidelines to prevent adding unnecessary risk to already dangerous jobs. It is also critical for women who work in environments that deploy heavy machinery or objects to maintain alertness at all times. Depression, fatigue and other psychological issues can have a direct effect on alertness and thus increase the risk of injury.

Get in touch with our Trenton Workers Compensation Attorneys Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys are extensively experienced in workers’ compensation law across Princeton, Ewing, Hamilton, Pennington, and across Mercer County, New Jersey, including representing female workers who have been injured as a result of their work. We take pride in representing all our clients with understanding and compassion.

You have several options at your disposal to schedule a consultation with a member of our team today regarding your injury on the job; you can fill out the online contact form call at (215) 337-4915 or you also visit our office at 194 South Broad Street Trenton, NJ 08608to learn more about how our workers’ compensation team and how we can assist you.

Video – Employment Lawyers Mercer County NJ

Our workplace and work space are important parts of all of our lives. It is where we go to contribute to our communities, ply our trades and provide for our families.  For this reason issues such as discrimination, harassment or mistreatment in the workplace can cause high amounts of stress and worry as well as be both financially and emotionally disastrous. Moreover, because of our financial security and that of our families is based on our employment, we may feel fearful of repercussions if we speak out. However, it is important to remember that strict employment law governs the treatment of workers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania as well as the rest of the United States. These laws dictate the treatment and safety of workers and provide avenues for relief and compensation for those workers who are not provided with a safe and ethical work environment.

Beginning in 1972, Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson has championed workers and workers rights in Trenton, Princeton, Lawrence, Hamilton, New Brunswick as well as all over Mercer County New Jersey including Bensalem, Northeast Philadelphia, Levittown, Feasterville, Millbrook, Penndel and all over Bucks County Pennsylvania. Our firm is highly knowledgeable and skilled at getting results for employees who have been discriminated against, harassed or otherwise mistreated. Our legal team is comprised of skilled negotiators and tenacious attorneys who know how to win for you in the courtroom. Contact us online or by phone in New Jersey at (609) 528-2596  or in Pennsylvania at (215) 337-4915.

Common Employment Issues KCR Has Addressed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Our attorneys are prepared to handle a wide range of employment law matters, including:

  • Hostile work environment – Employers are required to take precautions to ensure that employees do not feel uncomfortable in the workplace because of race, sex, age, or any other protected category.
  • Wrongful termination – We will seek job reinstatement, lost wages, and compensatory and punitive damages for employees who were wrongly terminated.
  • Sexual harassment – Employers can be liable for severe and pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace.
  • Employment contracts – A skilled and knowledgeable attorney can help you negotiate favorable contractual terms to secure maximum benefits and minimize your legal obligations. We can also help you seek damages when your employment contract is breached.
  • Equal pay – The New Jersey Equal Pay Act protects all workers against salary discrimination on the basis of gender.
  • Employment discrimination – Workers are protected against workplace discrimination on the basis of race, sex, age, religion, or disability.
  • Whistleblower retaliation – Your employer can not retaliate against you for reporting wrongdoing or participating in an investigation into the employer’s unlawful practices.
  • Unemployment compensation – We help terminated employees seek and gain unemployment benefits.
  • Severance packages – We negotiate with employers to secure maximum benefits for employees in the event of job termination.

Trenton Employment Law Attorney Discusses Protecting Yourself Against Employer Retaliation

Oftentimes people are concerned about challenging their employer for wrongful acts because they’re concerned about retaliation. If you’re having a problem with your employer it can take on many different shapes, it could be a discrimination issue, it could be a wrongful termination issue for a wide variety of reasons.

The best thing you can do is consult with your lawyer, we can tell you what to do to protect yourself from any retaliation, we’ve litigator them all and we’ve negotiated them as well.
Come and see us we can help you decide how to approach the situation you’re in with your employer

Contact Our Skilled and Experienced Levittown Employment Law Lawyers Today

The experienced and skilled employment law attorneys at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson are ready, willing and able to handle your case and bring it to a successful resolution for you and your family. For more than 40 years we have represented workers in a variety of employment issues. We have the experience and skill to help to resolve employment disputes to the satisfaction of our clients. Contact us online or by phone at (609) 528-2596 in New Jersey or (215) 337-4915 in Pennsylvania. Our knowledgeable attorneys will be happy to answer all of your questions and advise you on the most effective legal options available for you.

Reporting Workplace Accidents in Mercer County, NJ

Workplace Accident Attorneys Mercer County NJFor individuals who work in dangerous industries, workplace accidents can be a relatively common occurrence. Additionally, many individuals who have been injured do not wish to create a disturbance by filing an “official” report. While this mindset is understandable, failing to report a workplace accident can leave both the employee and the employer at risk in New Jersey. Both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases often rely on reports filed in the immediate aftermath of a workplace accident. Workplace accidents may lead to serious injuries including brain injuriesspinal cord injuries, or even wrongful death.

To illustrate the importance of reporting workplace accidents, our workers’ compensation lawyers will discuss how to report and file workplace accident claims, the risks of failure to report, and more.

Reporting Workplace Accidents: Lawrence, NJ Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

It is important to understand that you do not need to be badly injured to report a workplace accident. Many injuries are not immediately apparent and symptoms may present over the coming days, weeks, or even months. Our Lawrence, NJ workers’ compensation attorneys always recommend reporting a workplace accident when there is any doubt.

Companies have the legal right to enforce their own time limits when employees can file officials accident reports. It is a great idea to learn your organization’s regulations when it comes to accident reporting. However, it is important to understand that the state of New Jersey permits 90 days for injured employees to report an accident. Adhering to both the state mandated limit and your organization’s limits will make for the easiest legal process.

For employers, the New Jersey Department of Health offers three basic forms which can be filled out in the case of a workplace accident leading to injury:

Failure to Report Workplace Injuries in Mercer County

Strict statutes of limitations exist for both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims for New Jersey workers. As mentioned previously, workers’ compensation claims must be initially reported within 90 days in order to be valid. Personal injury claims, however, may be filed up to two (2) years after the injurious accident in most cases.

If you have been injured on the job, failure to report your accident in a timely manner can forfeit your rights to seek financial compensation. Workers’ compensation covers workers for medical bills, lost wages, and even long term benefits in the case of a permanent disability. The law is very strict when it comes to reporting injuries and the eligibility of individuals to seek further damages.

There is no reason to shy away from reporting a workplace accident. Employers should be well equipped to handle such reports, and should understand that they may not lead to any further legal action. On the other side of the coin, failure to file an accident report may leave your and your family unable to recover damages which you may need in the future. If you are uncertain of how to best proceed, call a Mercer County workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Have you Suffered an Injurious Accident at Work? Contact our Trenton Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today

The workers’ compensation lawyers of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson have protected workers and their families through workers’ compensation claims since 1972. Our firm has a well established record of recovering financial compensation for local clients throughout Mercer County towns including Trenton, Hamilton, Princeton, New Brunswick, Lawrence, and all of Central New Jersey. Our firm has built a stellar reputation over decades of dedicated legal service and securing financial compensation for victims. We believe in offering ethical, professional, and individual legal solutions for our clients and their families so that you can focus on getting well while we handle the legal ins and outs of your case.

Please call our Trenton, NJ offices at (609) 528-2596 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation regarding your workplace accident, your injuries, and how we can best serve your individual needs.